Human Interest

Letter sent from Titanic by Uruguayan passenger to go under hammer in Montevideo

By Santiago Carbone

Montevideo, Jun 28 (EFE).- A letter written on board the RMS Titanic by an Uruguayan passenger and sent during the doomed ocean liner’s final port of call in Ireland will go under the hammer in Montevideo with a floor price of $12,000.

That item is one of 800 lots of Creole silverware, militaria and historical documents that will be auctioned off both in person and online by Zorrilla Subastas between June 30 and July 1.

Written on letterhead paper and with the watermark of the White Star Line, the shipping company that operated the Titanic, the letter penned by Ramon Artagaveytia Gomez on April 11, 1912, and sent to his brother consists of two sheets with moisture stains.

The lot also contains a subsequent note written by the letter’s recipient that reads, “Last letter written by my dear brother Ramon. Three (sic) days afterward, the Titanic sank and he drowned.”

Sebastian Zorrilla, founder and owner of Zorrilla Subastas, told Efe that the item had been in the family’s possession for three generations but that the decision was made to sell it now to a collector or a museum.

He said numerous collectors from different parts of the world contacted the auction house after learning that the letter would be auctioned.

Asked what price the letter may fetch, Zorrilla estimated a value of “between $15,000 and $20,000.”

“The price is unpredictable. The market will have a little something to say,” he said.

“A lot of collectors are going to compete,” but museums also want to have these types of pieces, he noted, adding that he believes not many Spanish letters were written on board the Titanic.

In the letter, Artagaveytia Gomez told his brother that he was looking forward to arriving in the United States and was “enthralled” by the size of the 45,000-ton passenger steamship that was making its maiden voyage.

“Looking up (from outside the ship), it was as if I were at the foot of a five-story house. Upon entering, there were like 50 wait staff. One took my suitcases, and we went up to my floor on the B deck by elevator … The dining saloon is on the D (deck) and lower down there are others,” the letter reads.

Artagaveytia Gomez said the ship – which set sail from Southampton, England, to New York on April 10, 1912, and sank five days later after crashing into an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean – was making a final port of call in Queenstown, Ireland, (now known as Cobh) to pick up sacks of mail.

He also offered various details of the ship, noting that some of the halls were made of carved wood, the food was “very good” and he had an electric stove in his room. EFE


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